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Dan Hoover: Tommy Pope A “True Conservative”

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FIFTH DISTRICT VOTERS HAVE A CLEAR CHOICE …

Over all and parts of six decades I covered politics for newspapers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington, D.C. wrapping up my journalistic career with twenty years at The Greenville News, a rare conservative in a field where liberals dominate.

I left journalism for a time in the mid-1980s to work on a gubernatorial campaign, then managed a congressional campaign, before discovering that it’s a young guy’s game and I wasn’t that young anymore. When I retired from The Greenville News, I worked to elect two of the staunchest conservative Republicans ever, Congressmen Trey Gowdy and Jeff Duncan.

That said, I feel I can offer a unique perspective to the voters in the upcoming special election to fill the vacant fifth congressional district seat.

Those are my bona fides.

Now, the disclaimer: I don’t live in the fifth congressional district.

That doesn’t mean that what happens there doesn’t affect me or the more than four million South Carolinians who happen to live beyond its borders.

If I lived in the district, I would vote for Tommy Pope.  I don’t work for Tommy and I never have.  My only interest is in seeing the district nominate and elect a true conservative and person of unblemished character.  We all need men like Tommy in Washington.

I would implore the voters of South Carolina who do not live in the district to tell their friends that do to vote for Tommy.  If you live in the fifth district, let me tell what a vote for Tommy Pope means to you.

In my reporting days, I admit, I and my brethren sought to feast on the foibles and missteps of politicians.  Tommy will be of the – rare – kind who would provide no such fodder.  To mention Tommy in the same breath as a politician is a disservice because he just doesn’t meet the criteria.  Tommy is the kind of man who does the right thing when nobody is looking, a man of conviction and integrity.  A man whose deeds match his words.

On the other hand, I would like to point out that one of Tommy’s opponents, Chad Connelly – former head of the state GOP – could keep even a lazy reporter very busy on his candidacy alone.  Chad is a likable guy, but he left the party in dire financial shape with a mountain of debt to pursue another job elsewhere.

There’s more.

Several years ago, the state party and the Greenville County GOP entered into a lawsuit to shut down open primaries in South Carolina, that is, to require registration by party, thus keeping Democrats (with only meaningless primaries of their own) from meddling in our primaries or even running as faux Republicans.  As the suit approached its day in court, Chad removed the SCGOP as a party to the litigation, leaving the court to rule that Greenville had no standing.

Case dismissed.

The thousands of dollars raised by Greenville Republicans and pro bono work by attorneys went down the drain.  Immediately afterward, the just-reelected Chairman Connelly quit and left for a job in Washington.

So, fifth district voters might ask Chad: Why do you want Democrats voting in our primaries?

Then, there’s Ralph Norman. Successful businessman. No issue there.

Ralph was re-elected to state House District 48 back in November, but he quit on his constituents to run for the fifth district congressional nomination.  That means that the citizens of his former state House district for now have neither voice nor representation in Columbia, all this while the budget, financing highway improvements and other crucial issues are under discussion.

Then, there’s Tommy Pope.  He is serving as House Speaker Pro Tem, keeping a law practice going – and running for Congress.

Big difference with Chad and Ralph: Tommy would NEVER quit the job he was duly elected for and leave his constituents holding the bag.

Another thing.  Tommy is a daily commuter, driving to Columbia each morning and returning home in the evening to campaign for Congress.  This means Tommy can’t be out during the day raising money for his campaign.  This should impress all voters, that while others are out raising money and shaking hands, Tommy is carrying on the work he was elected to do. He isn’t part of the Columbia culture.

This type of work ethic is uncommon among elected officials in general and should compel folks to give Tommy serious consideration. Volunteer for his campaign, put up a sign, write a check.

Tommy was a hard-nosed, but compassionate prosecutor who “drained the swamp” in the York County Court System in the 1990’s.  He guided that office from worst to first in reference to docket backlogs.  You may also remember him as the guy who prosecuted Susan Smith.  His father was a long time sheriff and he himself was a police officer before becoming a prosecutor.  A proven track record!

He believes in a strong military, taking care of our veterans, restoring law and order at home, and supporting our real allies in an increasingly dangerous world.  If you think Washington is missing integrity and want like-minded folks there who share your Christian values, Tommy Pope is your guy.

Tommy believes it is important to serve his church and his community. You’ll often find him out helping members of his community and volunteering all over York County.

In Washington, he’ll be a solid ally for President Donald Trump in helping to eliminate job-killing regulations, secure our borders and revitalize the American economy.  He knows how hard you work to support your family, and understands you need a tax break.

Tommy Pope is the only choice in the fifth Congressional race.  He will tell you exactly where he stands on issues, remain steadfast for our shared values and will be a conservative voice we can be proud of in Washington.

Dan Hoover is a veteran reporter and conservative political advisor who resides in Greenville, S.C.

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